“We’re trying to breathe over here, man!” is a common expression you will hear when that guy on your job site lets it fly. A lot of people are always willing to ‘tough it out’ and do whatever it takes to get the job done. However, damage to the lungs cannot be ‘toughened out.’ But you can prevent such damage by embracing respiratory protection.
Here at Direct Wholesale, we give you the following guide on how to protect your lungs on site so that as you go on to use our tools, you are fully protected.
Modern respiratory protection
There is a wide range of respiratory protective equipment. However, how well you achieve respiratory protection depends on the correct choice of equipment. There are two approaches to doing this:
- The nominal protection factor method of selection
The protection offered here by a respirator/ breathing apparatus will depend on the total inward leakage during inhalation where the maximum inward leakage is allowed and known. To choose wisely the kind of respiratory protection equipment with this approach, the air concentration of substances likely to occur, duration of the concentration and the maximum permissible concentration of each substance must be known.
Lightness and comfort as well as freedom of movement allowed to the wearer are some other minor considerations under this approach.
- Filter efficiency and category of substances method
Classes of respiratory filters are classified according to corresponding classes of substances which are themselves graded according to their inherent danger. There are three classes of respirators:
- Highest efficiency-highest efficiency filter with a full facepiece. Inherent danger-toxic aerosols
- Intermediate efficiency-intermediate efficiency filter with a full facepiece/half mask. Inherent danger-harmful aerosols
- Lowest efficiency-lowest efficiency filter with half mask only. Inherent danger-inert aerosols
This method has one advantage-it requires no expensive environmental evaluations or user competence; just a knowledge of the substance category to be protected against.
How to protect your lungs on site
A respiratory protection program is all what’s required for you to achieve safe, reliable, and continuous protection from airborne hazards. The relevant Australian standards for developing such a program are:
- AS/NZS 1715
Gives guidance on types of respirators available, their performance and applications, as well as guidance on selection and maintenance
- AS/NZS 1716
Sets out the performance standards requirements for different types of respirators
Here is how you can achieve respiratory protection.
1. Asses the hazard
The first step in identifying a hazard is to identify the contaminant then quantify it. In some instances, this may require the help of occupational hygienists, safety professionals, or specialized equipment and assessment. Ensure that if it is not you who assesses the hazard, those who do are sufficiently qualified to do so.
2. Use the right equipment
Conditions, wear time, cost, and manufacturer advice will determine the kind of equipment to choose among other factors. The most common type of respirator is the air purifying respirator powered by the wearer’s own breathing cycle.
3. Get the right fit
There are several reasons why a respirator may not fit your face. It could be facial contours, makeup, heat, strenuous work, facial hair, fitness snags, or even physical conditions opposed to increased breathing resistance by a respirator. Because it is a matter of critical importance, you should be fit tested before you can wear one.
4. Equipment maintenance
Disposable types should be well discarded while you need to train in routine maintenance and storage for those that are not disposable. It is good to keep in mind the useful life of the breathing equipment.
Future PPE development & advancement
Future products development will be impacted by technology as well as the upcoming ISO standard for respiratory protection. New materials and innovations continue to help all of us on the tools to ensure a better health and safety standard.
With Direct Wholesale, we’ve got you covered from tip to toe!